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Garbage volume at Lovelace Transfer doubles in 4 years
The solid waste transfer station on Lovelace Road is operated by San Joaquin County.

The trash you toss — and for now the recyclables you separate — are not going directly to a landfill.

Instead it is trucked twice. Once to the Lovelace Transfer Station just north of Manteca where it is sorted and then shipped 7 miles to the Forward Sanitary Landfill on Austin Road north of French Camp Road.

And within a few years food waste from Manteca will be trucked back to the city’s wastewater treatment plant for conversion into compressed natural gas to power the city’s solid waste trucks. That will be a 4.5-mile trip

The Lovelace Transfer Station on Lovelace Road between Union Road and Airport Way operated by the county is neither a state-of-the-art facility nor is it large enough as it is operating over permitted allocation.

Why the transfer station matters now has everything to do with Manteca’s planning for the next 20 years. Some argue that it is best to leave the transfer station as it is and try to surround it eventually with business park uses. That is the tact city staff has expressed an interest in pursuing. Others want to see the transfer station relocated and the north area develop with a strong integration of residential, business park, and commercial use aimed at tying jobs to housing while making sure Delicato Vineyards’ extensive winery has a secure buffer.

If the transfer station stays put, it will need to be expanded at one point. That’s something not being taken into consideration as Manteca update’s its general plan that serves as the blueprint for city growth. The transfer station is virtually at ground zero in the city’s northern sphere of influence. The designation refers to land identified as highly likely to eventually be annexed to the city and developed.

That means if the transfer station is not relocated it will be essentially at the heart of new Manteca development north of Lathrop Road.

That will mean as nearby cities grow that send their garbage to Lovelace for separating, trash related truck traffic will increase. That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. During 2017, more than 108 tons of trash was dropped off at the transfer station by self-haulers ranging from households taking “stuff to the dump” using a pickup or a commercial concern that specializes in clean-ups. 

Manteca accounted for 25,700 tons of the self-hauling trash. Stockton leads with 38,900 tons followed by unincorporated areas in the county at 28,800 tons. Trash from throughout the county comes into the Manteca location via self-haulers including 275 tons from Lodi.

Overall when municipal waste from various cities are tabulated, Lovelace received 229,764 tons of waste in 2017-2018. That’s more than double the 121,421 tons of trash in 2014-2015 that Lovelace handled.

 Closing and repurposing landfill sites is done routinely as cities grow. The Manteca landfill that was on Union Road was closed and converted into the municipal golf course. A dump that was once located on Sedan Road east of South Manteca Road/South Main Street has been closed and now is adjacent to housing.

A price tag of $7 million plus has been put on duplicating the transfer station at another location.

If the goal is to reduce the re-shipping of as much material as possible, there are four possible options.

One would be at the Forward Landfill on Austin Road. Although it would allow for onsite burial of garbage and only trucking recyclables when there are buyers to repurpose them. Environmental documents submitted this year estimates the landfill will have a closure date of 2039. Given it is a private facility a significant share of the garbage buried there is trucked into San Joaquin County from Bay Area cities.

The North County Recycling Center and Sanitary Landfill is 26 miles from the Lovelace Transfer Station. Operated by San Joaquin County, the integrated facility is south of Clements and east of Lodi. It has a projected closure date of 2046.

The Foothill Sanitary landfill has a life expectancy projected to last through 2082 and is also owned by the county.  It is 31 miles from the Lovelace Transfer Station

The final option would be incorporating a new transfer station at Manteca’s municipal wastewater treatment plant. If city officials are comfortable with the operation of a transfer station that could one day be surrounded by business parks as  they envision for the Lovelace facility, the county building a state-of-the-art facility at the wastewater treatment plant with automated sorting lines could eventually help keep costs down for the city solid waste customers.

While trips by solid waste trucks to the wastewater treatment plant as opposed to Lovelace Road would have little or negligible changes in miles driven and time required for the collection of solid waste, it would eliminate future trucking of food waste once it is separated at Lovelace.

As an added bonus, Manteca is in the process of relocating its solid waste division — including all garbage trucks — from the Wetmore Street location to the wastewater treatment plan within the next few years. That’s so the garbage trucks will be overnighted next to the compressed liquid gas facility been built so they can be fueled.

The Lovelace site was bought by the county in 1977 and last upgraded in 1995.

Stats for the first six months of 2018 show that almost all of the 142,714 tons of garbage that Lovelace processed as of June 30 when shipped to one of the three landfills — 98,135 tons to Foothill, 41,120 tons to Forward, and 650 tons to North County leaving three tons that were sent to recycling operations. That means less than 2 percent of what Lovelace takes in isn’t being landfilled.

Lovelace received 229,764 tons of waste in 2017-2018 that’s almost 100,000 tons more than the next nearest county facility in volume as Foothill received 134,462 tons.

There were 10,238 loads last year that moved in and out of the Lovelace Transfer Station nearly double the 2014-2015 loads of 5,377.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email